That Old Cold Shoulder

Diane M. Davis By Diane M. Davis, 21st Apr 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Short Stories

An old lady gets upset with her stubborn husband who won't speak to her when he's mad at her.

Stonewalled again

Edna glared at Harold over her reading glasses. Not a word for three hours. He knew it irritated her, being ignored. She’d learned after fifty-three years of marriage, it was useless talking to him when he was this mad. Talking made it worse.

Stupid argument. She should have lied about the fat-free cheese in the casserole. He hated the stuff, but the doctor was adamant at his last checkup—his diet had to change or else. Knowing the ‘or else’ meant a stroke or heart attack that might lead to twenty-four hour care cinched it—she’d make him eat healthy or die trying.

Edna sighed and returned to her novel. It was almost bedtime anyway. Harold couldn’t sustain the silent treatment overnight. Come breakfast, he’d be talking to her like nothing happened.


Nine o’clock, Edna marked her place and struggled to her feet. Harold’s eyes remained fixed on the action movie flickering on the TV, his earphones saving her from the racket. She touched his arm but he didn’t acknowledge her.

With a huff she went to their room to perform her bedtime routine. When she was ready, she shuffled back to the living room to give him one more chance. Putting her fists on her hips, she cleared her throat as loud as she could.

The stubborn old coot didn’t move. Edna growled and stomped off to bed. If he wanted to sleep in his chair, fine. Tired and cranky, she shed her robe and slippers and settled down. It took a bit longer than usual, but she fell asleep at last.

Come morning...

First light woke her. The bed beside her was cold. Edna sat up too fast and her head spun. She lay back down, frowning at his smooth pillow. The man was incredibly stiff-necked. Did he sleep in the chair all night?

Ridiculous old man! Irritation gave her the energy to get up, joints creaking and protesting as she pulled on robe and slippers. Maybe if she made pancakes, his favorite, he’d get over his pique.

Pausing to turn on the coffeemaker, she shuffled into the living room.

An infomercial played on the television. Harold loathed infomercials. Edna walked over and stood between him and the screen, an action guaranteed to rouse her cantankerous husband.

His chin rested on his chest. The earphones sat askew and his glasses had slipped down his nose. Edna forgot to breathe. Something was wrong. She pulled the earphones off and his head flopped to the left. Her hand shook as she checked his wrist for a pulse. Nothing. A sob slipped out and she covered her mouth. She stumbed back and dropped into her chair. Maybe he hadn’t been giving her the cold shoulder after all.


Aging, Aging Adults, Death, Dying Natural Death, Fiction Story, Fictional, Fictional Story, Flash Fiction, Ignore, Long Lasting Relationship, Long Marriage, Marriage, Passed Away, Passing Away, Short Stories, Short Story, Silent Treatment, Spouse, Spouses

Meet the author

author avatar Diane M. Davis
I'm am a middle-aged mother of two grown kids, AZ native. I love cats, crocheting, and reading. I have five years of writing and editing experience. I've had 10 short stories published in e-zines.

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author avatar Songbird B
21st Apr 2011 (#)

Strong story, Diane, really good read, as yours always are...Great share..

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author avatar sungrace
22nd Apr 2011 (#)

You make my eyes wet.... a very touchy story, very lively.

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author avatar Retired
26th Apr 2011 (#)

Great story, dear!

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